Educational Consumer Tips

Phony Invoices

Author: Better Business Bureau

One of the most common variations of the phoney invoice scheme is issuing solicitations disguised as invoices. Business and organizations sometimes receive billing for products or services that are unfamiliar to them. These documents, which are actually solicitations for the purchase of goods or services, are carefully designed to look like legitimate invoices for goods or services ordered and received. In some cases, the small print may identify the bogus bill as a solicitation. The business that pays a solicitation disguised as an invoice may receive the merchandise or service it was duped into ordering; more often, it will not, and efforts to trace the fraudulent firm that issued the "invoice" will prove futile.

To protect yourself from phoney invoice scams, you should observe the following precautions: * Channel all invoices through one person or department in your company * Check all invoices against purchase orders and against goods or services received. Make certain that order numbers correspond with the invoices. * Verify all invoices with the person who gave written or verbal authorization. If you receive a phoney invoice or a solicitation disguised as an invoice, report the matter to the Better Business Bureau and U. S. Postal Service.